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Boeing's 787 Dreamliner takes-off from Paine Field

  (Source: Boeing)
After a rocky gestation period, Boeing sets off with the 787

It's been a long time coming, but Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has finally made its first flight just days after its taxiing run. After two years of delays, the next generation airliner took to the air at 1:27 pm EST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

The flight is expected to last for more than five hours as the pilots test the flight characteristics of the plane and the engineers on the ground crunch the raw data that is streamed back to them. The 787 prototype will land at Boeing Field which is just south of downtown Seattle after the test flight.

This first flight kicks off a nine-month testing phase for the 787 which will conclude with the delivery of the first production aircraft to All Nippon Airways in Q4 2010 – a total of 840 orders have been placed from airlines across the globe.

The 787 prototype is just one of six aircraft that will be used during the nine-month testing period to gain FAA certification.

While Boeing is hoping that most its major hurdles with the 787 Dreamliner are behind it, there will be new competition in the coming years from the Airbus A350 XWB. Like the 787, the A350 XWB's fuselage and wings are made primarily of composites, however, materials like aluminum and titanium materials are also used in the airframe. And also like the 787, the A350 XWB has a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 and promises drastic cuts in fuel consumption.

Airbus has received over 500 orders for its A350 XWB and the aircraft is scheduled to enter service in 2013.

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Prototype or production type?
By CubicleDilbert on 12/15/2009 3:02:34 PM , Rating: -1
Not to be a pundit, but this maiden voyage of the pipedreamliner is only done by a non-production-line aircraft.
They have not redesigned the wingbox yet, but still use the temporary fix with protoype fasteners and reinforcements.

It reminds me of the first rollout 3 years ago, when the hull fasteners were glued only for the show and the whole plane had to be disassembled again. I do not trust Boeing.

Heaven knows whether the new Airbus A350XWB will surpasse the 787 in delivered numbers by 2014. I can well imagine that. Now that Airbus has the knowledge of the A380 and the A350XWB is very similar in construction methods.

RE: Prototype or production type?
By FPP on 12/15/2009 3:36:38 PM , Rating: 2

This flight will make them able to instrument zillions of points and validate tons of data. It puts it in the air for performance feedback. There isn't a plane flying that has not had post-design changes and this plane is no exception. If successful, it fundimentally changes the way planes will be designed and built at Boeing. It's necessary to remember, they not only reinvented the airplane, they reinvented their design and procurement processes as well. It is a monumental change in the way they accomplish every goal.

By stromgald30 on 12/15/2009 5:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
The A380 is significantly different than the 787 and A350XWB in terms of construction. I don't claim to foretell the future, and nobody really knows whether the 787 or A350XWB will be more successful. Obviously, Boeing is going to beat Airbus to the market, but their mistakes may also teach Airbus a few things (much like the 737 vs the A320).

Just because it's a prototype doesn't mean that they'll need to redesign/requalify a new aircraft. The flight tests done on this first aircraft will validate many things in the design. Unlike the roll-out, which was a purely PR move, this first flight was also an engineering test.

Your lack of trust in Boeing is very one-sided and not logical. Airbus' A380 suffered some serious design flaws that delayed their first flight as well. If you're going to hold Boeing and Airbus to such a high standard of designing it perfect the first time, I doubt you would find any aircraft acceptable.

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